Brian Rouff,
Dice Angel
(Hardway, 2003)

There is not a lot of mystery in Dice Angel by Brian Rouff. There is, however, a bit of treachery, some doubts, deceit, help from strange places and a ton of luck (for good and ill).

Jimmy Delaney is the owner of Jimmy D's, a saloon in Las Vegas. He is having a very bad roll and his money is missing, presumably taken by his accountant who is nowhere to be found. The IRS has placed a lien on his saloon because they have not been paid for some time.

So the driving question quickly becomes where is he going to get the money he needs to keep running Jimmy D's?

He doesn't have a lot of time and the questions of how are answered very quickly, as are the questions he has about a couple of people, whether it be the history of his accountant or the Dice Angel. It is this very fluidity, this ease in getting information, that prevents the story from gaining any sense of mystery.

But it is the characters that keep you reading the book -- how they interact, the small kindnesses and cruelties they do to each other.

Dice Angel is a quest, albeit on a small scale, and the main villain of the piece is gone early in the story. There is a secondary villain, but he mostly just gets in the way and is petty more than anything else.

Dice Angel is not going to make you think very hard as it unfolds. But it will entertain you and keep you reading to see what happens to the hero of the story.

by Paul de Bruijn
24 February 2007

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